Arsenal could play in the Community Shield at the start of next season, even if they lose their semi-final next weekend against Manchester City as the FA are determined to put on the showpiece.
Normally, the Community Shield is played between the winners of the League and the FA Cup as the traditional curtain raiser to the season.
This year, however, with the pandemic and other commitments, both Manchester sides, who, along with Chelsea make up the semi-finalists, could be still involved in this season’s European competitions until well into August.
Should Arsenal lose to City, and City win the FA Cup, they could be unavailable for the Community Shield if they have made the Champions League final that will be played on 23 August.
Similarly, should Manchester United make the Europa League final on 21 August, neither side would be available to contest the Shield which is proposed for 30 August.
The FA will have to hand back a load of money to broadcasters should they fail to put on their season opener so have been looking at plans to avoid this.
Rather than just look at beaten semi-finalists, they are considering inviting the Shield’s most successful team to face Liverpool.
That would be Arsenal, with 15 of them in their trophy cabinet.
Arsenal were the last side to decline playing in the Shield final, back in 1971, when they were playing lucrative friendlies following their double win.